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Five years of hard work end with unveiling of clock tower PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

FBLA member Brooke Parker takes the plastic bags off to unveil
the clock tower located in the southwest corner of the parking
lot at Melissa Memorial Hospital.  
—Enterprise photo

The clock/time capsule has been finished and for members of the Holyoke FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) chapter, it has been a hard working five-year project that has come to an end.

The clock tower/time capsule was unveiled prior to the Melissa Memorial Hospital 50th anniversary celebration Thursday, July 22 at MMH. Hospital staff, board members and the public joined FBLA members and advisor Kristie Ham for the dedication.

Every year, FBLA conducts a community service project that allows members to take actions that will improve the community, according to Ham.

The clock tower project began as a three-year commitment to the Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation (MMHF) that grew into a five-year commitment and encompassed three phases.

During the first year of the project, FBLA members organized a televised telethon that raised over $25,000 from local donations and proceeds from auctioned items.

That phase was entitled “Building a Legacy: the Heartbeat of the Community.” Elisa Sagehorn and Kalin Noel served as chairpersons for the first phase.

A total of $3,699.86 worth of items was gathered for the auction that was televised on the local television cable channel by the HHS television productions class. By the end of the telethon, over $11,000 was collected. When that amount was combined with the funds that were received preceding the telethon along with funds received during a silent auction, the total was over $26,000.

“That is an awesome feat considering there are only approximately 2,000 people in our town,” Ham said.

During the second year, the project updated its focus to “Building a Legacy: Time for Commitment.” During the year, the overall project was made up of two mini-projects.

The first included an alumni letter, and the second was a pill bottle. Chairpersons included Noel and Debbie Moss.

Both Noel and Moss set the foundation for the project believing that everyone who is part of or has been part of the community should have an opportunity to build a legacy of quality health care. They wrote a letter to past graduates of HHS which introduced the project and asked them to consider financially supporting the campaign.

Phillips County Economic Development provided a database of addresses of past graduates and over 600 envelopes were mailed out.

During the second project, many residents received a little pill bottle with the FBLA and MMHF logo. People were invited to participate in bringing the “Creative and Innovative” ideas of what they believe will be available in future medical technology health care services over the next 50 years.

FBLA members also gave bottles to elementary, junior high and senior high students asking them to put their name and graduation date on the outside of the bottles and fill out a sheet with what they see as the future of medical technology.

Noel and Moss teamed up with Ardie Besse and Cherrie Brown and gave the pill bottles to community members at local basketball games and the MMH Health Fair.

“Building a Legacy: Capstone Construction,” became the name of the project during its third year. FBLA members were learning how to write grants to fund a clock tower/time capsule.

The project was designed to symbolize that the community made time for commitment to quality health care. In addition, chairpersons Shannon Bornhoft, Elaina Nygaard and Molly Vasa wanted to place the pill bottles collected throughout the second year in the bottom of the clock tower and serve as a time capsule which will be opened in 50 years.

Bornhoft, Nygaard and Vasa located five grants they were interested in applying for and found out as part of their research it was necessary to show a clear vision of the project.

Art teacher Jerry Williamson drew a rendition of what was envisioned. In addition to the picture, students contacted the Vernon Company to find out costs of a clock, a contractor to build the site and L&L Ready Mix to donate the concrete needed to build the platform.

The first grant received was for $500 from El Pomar Youth in Community Service (EPYCS) chapter.

Samantha Redfern took over as project chairperson the following year and located 20 foundations she could write grants to. According to Ham, Redfern was always in front of the public helping them see the final project.

Redfern also created a presentation she gave to the hospital board and Heginbotham foundation. Misty Hielscher donated her time to create a blueprint of the project showing exact dimensions once it would be built.

The clock arrived last fall and was on display at the MMHF recognition night.

To help bring in additional funds, a Bricks and Benches fundraising campaign was started which allowed community members to buy a brick or bench and personalize it. The bricks have been placed in the base of the clock tower and the benches will serve as a place for people to enjoy, according to Ham.

Over the past year, “Building a Legacy: The Legacy Continues...” has seen the completion of the project. Chairpersons Nicole Brandt, Mark Edmonds and Alex Quintana added the final touches needed to bring everything together.

Ken Ham along with a crew of students from Alternative High School and HHS spent a day moving rock from the area so the concrete could be poured where the clock was to be installed.

Dale O’Neal offered to help with the final design and building of the clock tower/time capsule. He also helped the project team come up with a way to safely put items in the time capsule to ensure they will be in good condition when it is opened in 50 years.

Ham also said Jacks Bean played a big role in getting man power to dig out the site and store the clock. Jason Kirkpatrick agreed to do the brick laying for the base of the clock as well, which was completed days before the dedication.

During her speech last Thursday, Ham gave praise to Cherrie Brown, Executive Director for MMHF for her hard work and dedication to the project.

Holyoke FBLA advisor Kristie Ham, pictured at right, explains one
of the tubes to be placed in the base of the clock tower while
FBLA members Nicole Brandt and Alex Quintana look on during
Thursday’s dedication.  
—Enterprise photo